Now that Kawhi watch is over and he has picked his destination we can finally look back at a wild NBA free agency period and see who picked up the players they were dreaming of and who missed out on the chance for a championship level team.
1. Los Angeles Clippers
Key Additions: Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Patrick Beverley, and Maurice Harkless
Key Departures: Danilo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Garrett Temple
Analysis: The biggest winner of NBA free agency, by far, has been the Clippers. They have been chasing after Kawhi Leonard for three years now and finally they will get him. Along with Leonard, they added Paul George in a massive trade with Oklahoma City. They gave up a lot of assets for George, but now they have the star power to compete for a title next season and the future. The Clippers also resigned Patrick Beverley, who was a vocal leader for last season, and acquired Maurice Harkless to bolster their defense and depth on the second unit. Overall, the Clippers made a big jump to becoming a contender next season and although they traded away Gilgeous-Alexander, Gallinari and a lot of draft picks, the Clippers can once again be the best team in LA this season and maybe bring home their first title.
2. Brooklyn Nets
Key Additions: Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan and Taurean Prince
Key Departures: D’Angelo Russell, DeMarre Carroll and Jared Dudley
Analysis: If it was not for Kevin Durant’s health moving forward the Nets would have won NBA free agency this year, however giving a player with a serious injury a big contract is risky no matter who that player is. Durant will most likely miss all of next season and will instead watch as new franchise point guard Kyrie Irving runs the team. Irving has had a lot of questions surrounding his leadership after the Boston Celtics season last year and as he finally gets to play where he wants, he has to prove he can lead a team. Other small moves for the Nets have been picking up DeAndre Jordan, who is very close to Durant and Irving, and it will be interesting if Jordan will start over Jarrett Allen who played really well last season. Finally, the Nets picked up Taurean Price, a solid two-way player, to compliment the team style. Overall the Nets added great talent and although they lost their all-star D’Angelo Russell, they can become a power-house in the Eastern Conference for now and the foreseeable future.
3. Utah Jazz
Key Additions: Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic, Jeff Green and Ed Davis
Key Departures: Ricky Rubio, Jae Crowder, Derrick Favors, and Grayson Allen
Analysis: The Utah Jazz made a lot of solid moves this offseason pushing them towards a top team in the Western Conference. First, they acquired Mike Conley from the Memphis Grizzlies to create a dynamic backcourt with Donovan Mitchell. Then they signed Bojan Bogdanovic, a quality small forward who can score on any night. Finally, they bolstered their bench adding Jeff Green and Ed Davis. Overall, the Jazz might have one of the best starting lineups in the NBA next season and I would not be shocked if they are in the Western Conference Finals.
Honorable Mentions: Los Angeles Lakers, Indiana Pacers, and Miami Heat
1. Toronto Raptors
Key Additions: Marc Gasol, and Stanley Johnson
Key Departures: Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green
Analysis: The NBA Champions did everything they could to keep Kawhi Leonard in Toronto, but he is leaving for LA. Marc Gasol coming back will keep Toronto a playoff team, but they lost the chance to be the favorites for the title. Another loss for Toronto was Danny Green, who is a solid starting shooting guard. Now, Toronto will have to replace two key positions heading into next season and their depth and star power will be questioned moving forward.
2. New York Knicks
Key Additions: Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, Elfrid Payton, Taj Gibson and Reggie Bullock
Key Departures: DeAndre Jordan, Emmanuel Mudiay and Mario Hezonja
Analysis: The Knicks signed some good players, but the problem is that they were looking to sign two superstars and failed. The dream for the Knicks was to get the number one overall pick and then sign Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Instead they saw the Pelicans get Zion Williamson and the Brooklyn Nets sign Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Now, New York City is run by the Nets while the Knicks look to build through the draft and, once again, try and make the playoffs.
3. Charlotte Hornets
Key Additions: Terry Rozier
Key Departures: Kemba Walker
Analysis: Kemba Walker has been the Hornets franchise for the past eight years and yet he decided to leave Charlotte for Boston in free agency. Now Charlotte is back to the bottom of the NBA and although they are taking a risk with Terry Rozier, expect Charlotte in the lottery for the years to come.
Honorable Mentions: Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder